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大学英语四级美文欣赏:都市女性文学之死        来源:沪江英语        发布时间:2012-10-29 20:11:57
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 IT was fun at the start, like every romance. But ten years on, the bloom is off the “chick lit” rose. This sparkly slice of women’s fiction has more or less officially expired. Reports abound from either side of the Atlantic: publishers rebuff new titles; supermarkets barely stock them; authors can no longer make it pay. Sophie Kinsella, the reigning queen of light amusing urban romance, must feel a little like Mark Twain. She ain’t dead yet: her newest novel, "I’ve Got Your Number", is a current top seller on British fiction charts.

  chick lit 都市女性文学。“Chick”除有“鸡仔”的意思外,口语中还有“妞儿”的意思,是英美俚语中对年轻女郎的统称。“Lit”是“literature”的英文缩写,是“文学”的意思。所谓chick lit实际上定义是“女性作家写给女性读者看的作品”,类似于中国近几年比较流行的女性言情小说。

  expire v. 期满;终止;死亡

  abound v. 充满;富于;大量存在

  rebuff vt. 断然拒绝 n. 断然拒绝;回绝;漠不关心

  reigning adj. 占统治地位的;起支配作用的;在位的

  A decade after "Bridget Jones’s Diary" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic" unleashed a tsunamiof stilettoheels, chick lit isn’t as much dead as transformed. The genre has grown up and moved on. If anything should be laid to rest, many women in publishing argue, it’s the dubiousand denigrating label that has hung on it like an albatross from the start.

  lay to rest 消除;埋葬

  albatross 沉重负担

  “The term assumes the subjects covered are light, but actually that’s not necessarily true. They can be meatyand gritty,” says Janey Fraser, a British writer whose new novel "The Playgroup" involves relationships across generations. Even Ms Kinsella’s original Shopaholic heroine now has a baby, notes her editor, Linda Evans at Transworld Books. The “chick lit” box never really did justice to the full spectrumof women’s experience that many of these novels address—and is no longer relevant to the work being published now.

  Shopaholic n. 购物狂 adj. 购物狂的

  “It’s moving on from young women having trouble with their boyfriends and their hair. I can’t imagine publishing anything like that in 2012,” says Ms Evans. “But the good ones were never just about that; they were always about money and property, too, like 'Pride and Prejudice'.”

  The original appeal of these books, mostly featuring feisty, single young professional women, has not changed much either. They’re entertaining and often wickedlyfunny. “Every once in a while I just like to read a frothystory I don’t have to think about too much,” says Andee-Louise Gilchrist, a London reader. “It’s like choosing Cadbury’s over Godiva; all are an indulgence and each has its merits.” For their part, two American writers, stung by the obituaries, have defended their turf by launching a website, “Chick Lit Is Not Dead.”

  indulgence n. 嗜好;放纵;纵容;沉溺

  Nonetheless, British sales of women’s commercial fiction did slump by 20% from 2010 to 2011, according to the Bookseller. For some authors, the drop was as much as half. But book sales in all genres are down, while e-book sales are still not tracked. Some think it possible that chick lit, like its steamier cousin, romance, is more readily consumed on e-readers, without the tell-all wrapper.

  slump v. 下降

  It’s tempting, too, to blame vampires for putting a stake in chick-lit’s heart. The real reason, though, was overkill. Bookselling is a faddish business, and the market was quickly saturated—as the “Skandicrime” genre is saturated now. “Thousands if not millions of women worldwide decided they could pick up a pen and write another Bridget Jones, and publishers started printing them in droves,” says literary agent Teresa Chris. Publishers, for their part, blame retailers, with their blinkeredrepetition of winning formulas, and especially, those treacly, girlycovers. Many writers were shoehorned into that marketing box, even if their novels dealt with more serious issues. Polly Courtney, for example, dropped publisher HarperCollins last year for packaging her novels in what she called “condescending and fluffy” covers.

  faddish adj. 风行的;流行一时的

  saturate vt. 浸透,使湿透;使饱和,使充满

  in droves 成群结队地

  blinkered adj. 思路狭隘的;心胸狭隘的

  Many readers are indeed turned off by the implicitmarketing message. “It’s sort of like, admit it ladies, it’s all a ruse, this professional thing. The prince and the ring are really out there,” says one. That underlying sexism in packaging still grates, especially since the success of David Nicholls’ "One Day", a young urban romance that would doubtless have sported swirlshad its author been a woman.

  implicit adj. 盲从的;含蓄的;暗示的

  Still, hope springs eternal, as these tales instruct. The ageing cohortthat once devoured "Prada" and "Shopaholic" will soon want a different kind of novel that reflects the complexities of modern women’s lives. “They may well have stilettos on the cover,” Ms Fraser says. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if they also had trainers. Women live in a very big church.”

  The subject is enduring, and broad. Think Cathy and Heathcliff, Austen’s "Emma", the 1930s gem "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". Alongside chick lit emerged hilarious takes on balancing career and motherhood such as Maeve Haran’s "Having It All" and Allison Pearson’s "I Don’t Know How She Does It". The current popularity of tragic tales of Tudor queens and other histories, and the emergence of family thrillers like Emma Donohue’s "Room" and Rosamund Lupton’s "Sister" suggest that the late, lamentedchick lit is merely one pink-hued incarnation of a still-vital phenomenon of stories that convey the female experience.

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